Small Business Grants for Veterans

A black army veteran takes notes using a laptop.

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Veteran-owned businesses play a significant role in the American economy. According to US Census Bureau.

But despite their great influence, an Small Business Administration (SBA) report. found that veterans often find it more difficult to access capital than non-veteran business owners.

Fortunately, many federal, state and private organizations offer small business grants for veterans, which can be used to grow or start your business. Here’s where to look and how to apply.

1. Foundation of other services

The Second Service Foundation, formerly the StreetShares Foundation, is a non-profit organization that helps veterans create or grow their businesses by providing funding through its Military Entrepreneur Challenge grant program.

Participants must present their work in front of a group of judges. In 2019, the first place winner received $15,000; the runner-up received $6,000 and the third-place winner $4,000.

Application process

Applications are currently closed, but you can add your name to the Second Service Foundation email list to be notified when they reopen.

Apply here

2. Warriors Rising Small Business Grants

Warriors Rising is a nonprofit organization founded by veterans in 2015 that provides small business grants and mentoring to veterans and their immediate family members. Members are called “Vetereppreneurs” and go through a six-step process that includes Zoom coaching sessions and one-on-one mentoring.

Application process

You can apply online to become a Vetrepreneur. If your application is accepted, you will receive a confirmation email, followed by a phone call to discuss next steps. After that, you will receive boarding documents via email that you need to fill out.

Apply here

3. is an online database where you can search for a variety of federal grants. Grants are offered by several government departments, including the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the US Department of Defense.

Application process

To apply, you must create a account. Before you apply, be sure to review the grant eligibility requirements.

Apply here

4. Hivers and Strivers

Hivers and Strivers is an investment group that invests only in veteran-owned businesses. You receive between $100,000 and $1 million in funding in exchange for equity in your company. The company encourages the submission of “highly scalable” ideas. Although not technically a grant, veterans may be interested in this potential source of funding.

Application process

You can submit your presentation online through the Hivers and Strivers website. Cannabis or lifestyle companies and companies securing government contracts are not eligible.

Apply here

Alternatives to subsidies for small businesses

Although small business grants can help you start or grow your business, they may not be the best choice for you. Grant programs are usually competitive, and the grant provider may only allow you to use the funds for certain purposes.

If you’re looking for financing options that are generally easier to qualify for, come with fewer restrictions, and are more widely available, consider the following alternatives.

  • Loans for small businesses. You can also pay business expenses with veteran business loan from a traditional bank, credit union or online lender. Unlike a business credit card, a small business loan comes with a lump sum payment that you repay over time in fixed installments.
  • Borrow money from a family member or friend. A family member or friend could give you a loan with little or no interest. First, discuss the repayment terms if you find someone willing to lend you money. And then return it as promised to avoid damaging your relationship.

The bottom line

Whether you’re a veteran looking to grow your business or start a new one, applying for grants can be a good solution. Grants can provide the funds you need—and the big advantage is that they don’t have to be repaid.

You can use grant search engines such as GrantWatch find additional support. Check out our listings small business grants for minorities and small business grants for womenalso.

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